Linking sensory and proton transfer reaction–mass spectrometry analyses for the assessment of melon fruit (Cucumis melo L.) quality traits

Tiago Bianchi, Luis Guerrero, Yannick Weesepoel, Jason Argyris, Alex Koot, Marta Gratacós-Cubarsí, Jordi Garcia-Mas, Saskia van Ruth, Maria Hortós*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Sixty-seven samples of ten melon types (Cucumis melo L.) were evaluated to determine the relationship between their quality traits: sensory attributes, pH, soluble solids, and volatile organic compounds. Fruits from the cantalupensis, conomon, dudaim, inodorus, and momordica cultivar groups were analyzed. The sensory profiles were assessed using ten attributes covering odor, flavor, and taste characteristics, whereas the volatile profiles were derived by proton transfer reaction–mass spectrometry. Fruits from the cantalupensis and inodorus cultivars showed an opposite pattern for several quality traits. Fruits from the dudaim cultivar were more related to the cantalupensis, whereas conomon and momordica showed an intermediate behavior between inodorus and cantalupensis. The attributes of odor and flavor intensity, ripe fruit odor, fermentative odor, and fermentative flavor correlated positively to C3–C9 esters (r = 0.43–0.73; p ≤ 0.01). Positive correlations were also observed for several alcohols (r = 0.36–0.82; p ≤ 0.05), including methanol, ethanol, and diol alcohols, as well as for several aldehydes (r = 0.43–0.85; p ≤ 0.01), such as acetaldehyde, butanal, methyl butanal, heptanal, and decanal. The attributes mentioned above were negatively correlated with two C9 aldehydes, 2,6-nonadienal and nonenal (r = − 0.45 to − 0.62; p ≤ 0.01), whereas sweetness was negatively correlated with two C6 green leaf volatiles, hexenal and 3-hexenol (r = − 0.50; − 0.67; p ≤ 0.001). The melon fruits presented distinct differences in the quality traits evaluated. These results provide information for the development of new cultivars with characteristic taste combinations without compromising other desirable fruit quality traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1457
JournalEuropean Food Research and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2020


  • Flavor
  • Melon fruit
  • Odor
  • PTR–MS
  • Sensory analysis
  • Volatile organic compounds


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